Changes to the Federal Divorce Act

New amendments to the federal Divorce Act, meant to come into force last July but pushed back due to the COVID-19 pandemic, have come into force this month.

These are the first substantial changes to the Divorce Act in more than 20 years.

The changes to the Divorce Act include updated provisions addressing family violence and relocation.

  • The Act defines family violence in a holistic sense. It does not solely cover physical violence. The definition includes harassment or stalking, neglect, psychological abuse, financial abuse, destruction of property, and specific threats. It also includes the direct or indirect exposure of a child to any of the foregoing conduct.
  • The provisions relating to relocation set out notice requirements and place a burden on the party wanting to relocate with a child to prove that the relocation would be in the best interests of the child, if the parents were spending substantially equal time with the child.

The changes modernize the Divorce Act and bring it in line with British Columbia’s provincial legislation, the Family Law Act.

If you are separating from your spouse and need legal representation, contact one of our family lawyers for assistance.

Categories: Family Law